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Get to Know Nappie Award Best Yoga Instructor Finalist Michelle Ryan

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Almost ten years ago in Savannah, Ga., I discovered Bikram Yoga. Upon a co-worker’s suggestion, I tried it in 2011 and have been practicing regularly ever since.

Quite simply, I fell in love with the practice for what it did for my body, mind and spirit. That quickly translated into a desire to become a teacher and share that with others.

Since completing Sterling Hot Yoga Teacher Training (a 200-hour training in original hot yoga) in Summer 2015, I have been certified to teach: Yoga Sculpt (yoga with weights), Yin, Inferno Hot Pilates, Vinyasa, Power Yoga, Chair Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Mindfulness Resilience Training for military and veterans, Gravity Yoga and Breath Coaching! I am now E-RYT 200 certified with nearly 2,000 teaching hours to my credit.

I am the first (and still only) yoga4cancer-trained teacher in Alabama, and prior to COVID-19, I had been teaching regular classes for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers at USA Mitchell Cancer Institute. Last year, I completed a training for Yoga for Nervous System Disorders, and I had been working with an MS patient prior to COVID as well. Last year, I also completed a yoga for traumatic brain injury training offered by the Love Your Brain Foundation

I most recently completed a training for Mindful Resilience for Compassion Fatigue, which helps identify and implement self-care techniques for healthcare professionals, caregivers, first responders, teachers and more to help prevent burnout. Later this year, I will complete Level 1 & 2 Adaptive Yoga training offered through Mind Body Solutions that makes yoga poses accessible to all students regardless of ability.

My goal has always been to seek out and learn from the masters, so I have studied with Bernie Clark, Bryan Kest, Esak Garcia, Ben Sears, Jimmy Barkan, and Scott Lamps and Ida Jo, the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga, and many others. In addition to the hundreds of hours of in-person and online workshops and trainings since Sterling training, I have taught at studios in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Kentucky. 

For the better part of two years beginning in 2017, I taught for Mike Winter, the owner of Hot Yoga Houston and a graduate of Bikram’s first teacher training in 1994. Mike opened the first original hot yoga school in the state of Texas and is well-known in the yoga community for his high standards and dialogue-based instruction he expects from his teachers. He has trained and coached many teachers and studio owners in his 25-plus-year career, and I consider myself just one of the fortunate ones to have had the opportunity.

In 2018, I was honored to join the Sterling Hot Yoga Teacher Training team to share the philosophy and history of yoga, with an emphasis on the origins of original hot yoga. I have participated in trainings in New Orleans, Huntsville and Arlington, Texas.

When I began practicing, I took 10 classes and signed up for the 60-Day Challenge, a 90-minute class every day for that period! It was the best way to devote myself to the practice right from the start. Though I’m not able to practice every day, I make every effort to show up on my mat as often as I can.

There really is no substitute for me for sweating, stretching and pushing my way through a class alongside the students I teach. I am currently participating in Baron Baptiste’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution, an amazing journey into meditation, self-inquiry, and personal and group yoga practice.

When not studying, practicing or teaching yoga, I put my undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism to use as a freelance writer and marketing consultant, assisting clients with social media, blogging, website content and more. My Sterling training was just the first step of a continual journey, and I believe that is evidenced by my ongoing commitment to learning and growing as a teacher.

Vote here. Thank you for your support!

New Health Service Now Available at Sterling!

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Ready to improve your relationship with food? Whether you’re ready to simply try something new or you need to target allergies or an illness that has complicated your relationship with food, Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness is pleased to offer a new service on site that can help!

Heather Fowler, owner of ComplEATly Well, is now meeting with clients at the studio for one-on-one coaching, consultations and more. 

She graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition with an added Specialty in Hormone Health. She is a certified Integrative Women’s Health Coach with a Level 2 Master Class Certification from Precision Nutrition.

Heather can help you and your family with regard to women’s health, women’s hormones, and child nutrition and body neutrality with custom nutrition plans based on your needs.

For more information about Heather or ComplEATly Well services, visit www.compleatlywell.com. You can also schedule a free consultation there today!

Safety Guidelines Revised With Governor’s New Order

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With Gov. Kay Ivey’s announcement of the “Safer Apart” order effective Friday, April 9 at 5 p.m., we will be making a few changes at Sterling.

While masks are no longer required, we still strongly encourage you to wear them at the studio in the common areas until you get on your mat to practice. You do not have to wear your mask while you practice.

We will continue to take staff and student temperatures upon arrival with the continued safety of everyone in mind.

With this announcement, we have reopened our shower facilities for students to use after class, and we are also bringing back a popular amenity—lavender towels!

Thank you, everyone, for continuing to comply with our safe operating guidelines and for your support of Sterling. We could not have made it through the last year without you!

Thank You for Supporting Our LoveYourBrain Karma Class!

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During March, which is Brain Injury Awareness Month, Sterling hosted a special karma class to help raise money and awareness to help support those affected by traumatic brain injury (including concussion). 

We want to thank everyone who donated, participated in class or helped spread the word.

Because of each of you, Michelle met her $300 fundraising goal to fulfill one of the components of her training with LoveYourBrain, a nonprofit that provides yoga, retreat and meditation programs internationally to build community and foster resilience for people affected by TBI. 

Thank you so much for your support in making the healing power of yoga accessible for everyone!

Congrats to Our Healthy Habits Challengers and Winners!

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Congratulations to our 21-Day Healthy Habit challengers, Mendy Bornfleth, Robert Carlock, Kaitlyn Holman and Danny Miller! These dedicated yogis completed 21 classes in 21 days, putting them well on their way to setting and keeping the healthy habit of practicing yoga regularly. ⠀

These dedicated yogis completed 21 classes in 21 days, putting them well on their way to setting and keeping the healthy habit of practicing yoga regularly.

Congratulations also to these challenge prize winners: Danny, nutritional counseling from The Delicious Dietitian with Bridget Reiter; Kaitlyn, juicing bundle from Heidi Pritchett; and Mendy, organic soaps from MelAsana Soap

In March, we challenged everyone to set healthy habits with our 2021 Healthy Habits Challenge! Since it takes about three weeks to form a habit, the challenge was to take 21 classes in 21 days and get your year off to a healthy start!

Did you miss the Healthy Habits Challenge? You can start your own at any time! But if you prefer to push yourself along with others at the studio, stay tuned!

The Healthy Habits Challenge is the first of four 21-day challenges we’ll offer this year. For every one you complete, you’ll get an entry into a special prize drawing, and if you complete all four challenges, you’ll be entered into a separate drawing when we celebrate your accomplishments at the end of the year.

Keep up the great work!

21-Day Healthy Habits Challenge Begins Monday, March 1!

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How is your year going so far? If you need motivation to stick with your healthy habits or to develop some, we’re here to help!

In March, we’re encouraging you to set healthy habits with our 2021 Healthy Habits Challenge! Since it takes about three weeks to form a habit, the challenge is to take 21 classes in 21 days and get your year off to a healthy start!

Everyone who completes the challenge will be entered to win a drawing for these prizes: one one-hour initial consultation with Bridget Reiter, Registered Dietitian with The Delicious Dietitian; one Wellness/Immunity Boosting Juicing Bundle from Heidi Pritchett; and one set of hand-cut, small-batch, plant-based soaps formulated to give you an all-natural healthy glow from MelAsana Soap by Melanie Kaufman. 

The Healthy Habits Challenge begins Monday, March 1, 2021 and ends Sunday, March 21, 2021. 

It will be the first of four 21-day challenges we’ll offer this year. For every one you complete, you’ll get an entry into a special prize drawing, and if you complete all four challenges, you’ll be entered into a separate drawing when we celebrate your accomplishments at the end of the year.

Sign-up cards for the Healthy Habits Challenge will be available this week!

2020 Mardi Gras Schedule

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Mardi Gras 2021 is certainly one we won’t forget, but although we don’t have the regular festivities to enjoy, there is plenty of yoga we’ll be offering for you to practice.

Sterling will be open for our regular schedule on Lundi Gras, Monday, Feb. 15 and Fat Tuesday, Tuesday, Feb. 16. 

Please be sure to register in advance whether you are taking class in the studio or online. If you practice in the studio, you reserve your spot (we are still socially distancing in the hot room), which is important because some classes are starting to grow. If you practice at home, booking online will give you access to the Zoom link to join the class.

This year’s might not be the Mardi Gras celebration you were looking forward to, but we’d love for you to come practice with us!

Congratulations to These Prize Winners from Our 2020 Challenges!

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We recently celebrated our dedicated students who completed our 30-day spring, fall (or both!) and 2020 challenges.

Congratulations to these dedicated yogis who completed and participated in our 2020 year-long challenge AND won some awesome prizes too! 

Annual Membership
Audrey Williamson

FitBit
Sheri Granberry
Robert Carlock

30-Day Pass
Corinne Reece 

Yoga Mat
Demi VanderWerff

Shirt/Water Bottle
Cassandra Holman

Shirt/Water Bottle
Haley Hall

Congratulations to everyone who made a commitment to their yoga practice last year. It wasn’t always easy, but definitely worth the effort.

Stay tuned for our next challenge coming up soon!

Don’t Miss Yoga Sculpt, the New, Improved Iron Hour!

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The Iron Hour class you know and love has gotten even better and a lot more challenging! 

We’ve recently rebranded this strength-based workout as Yoga Sculpt, and students are loving it.

Yoga Sculpt still incorporates light hand weights (maybe even a little more than Iron Hour!), cardio and core work for maximum calorie-burning effect.

Instead of targeting the same muscles over and over, sequences change regularly so you’ll never hit that dreaded plateau.

It’s a total body workout designed to sculpt every major muscle group by combining yoga postures with weights and cardio. It’s a great balance of strength, conditioning and vinyasa flow!

We feel that Yoga Sculpt more appropriately describes this class and the effects it’s designed to have on your body. And we can’t wait for you to experience the difference.

Yoga Sculpt is offered on Sundays and Thursdays at 8:15 a.m. Don’t miss it!

Congratulations to Our 2020 Challengers!

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It’s been a year since our Renew You 2020 Challenge began, and that means it’s time to congratulate everyone who stretched, sweated and breathed their way across the finish line. 

2020 presented plenty of additional challenges in addition to finding the motivation to maybe practice a little extra every month to reach the mark of 240 classes for the year. So we’re especially inspired and motivated by these dedicated yogis:

Robert Carlock, 438
Audrey Williamson, 339
Mendy Bornfleth, 304
Candice Cravins, 268
Paula Brown, 266
Sheri Granberry, 260
Danny Miller, 246
Michelle Ryan, 242
Tyloria Crenshaw, 241

On Friday, Jan. 22,  we’ll have two drawings: one for everyone who has reached 20 classes each month (or met the average) and another for everyone who has completed 20 classes in any month of the year. The more months that you complete 20 classes, the more entries you’ll get in that drawing. 

Congratulations to these students and teachers who took at least 20 classes for one or more months:

Reid Gilbert, 3 Months
Corinne Reece, 2 Months
Jennifer Irizarry, 2 Months
Haley Hall, 1 Month
Cassandra Holman, 4 Months
Sue Bruno, 3 Months
Demi VanderWerff, 1 Month

We’re still working out the details of those prizes, but we know you’ll have the option to win a FREE month and more!

Everyone who completes the full year is entered to win an annual membership and one of two Fitbit fitness trackers, and will also receive a long-sleeve Dri-Fit pullover embroidered with the studio and challenge logos. 

Please join us on Friday, Jan. 22 after the 5:30 p.m. class to celebrate the achievements of these students and teachers and their commitment to their practice and to Sterling!